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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  November 12, 2010 5:00pm-6:59pm EST

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have been anybody. we talk about that in the special that's coming up. and the fear that is still out there in this community. this community may never recover from what happened just like many of us never will. >> "pure evil: nightmare in connecticut" looking forward to it, randi kay. and here is wolf blitzer in washington. happening now, president obama insists he's not caving in on tax cuts. this hour he's pressing ahead with his asian tour and diving back into the debate over extending the bush era tax breaks for wealthy americans. stand by. the louisiana governor bobby jindal handles mr. obama's handling of the oil spill. critics are accusing the republican of playing dirty in his new book to promote his white house prospects in 2012. and a new call of duty, fidel
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castro, it's a controversial video game featuring the cuban leader in his heyday. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." president obama sending an urgent message from asia to americans who fear he's ready to flip-flop on tax cuts. our white house correspondent dan lothian pressed mr. obama about this issue during a news conference at the close of the g-20 summit in south korea. listen to this. >> after the midterm elections you said you were open to compromise on the bush tax cuts. >> uh-huh. >> i'm wondering if you're prepared today to say you're willing to accept a tax extension for the wealthiest of americans. and do you feel that the election has weakened you on the global stage? >> the answer to the second question is no.
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i any what we've seen over the last several days as we've traveled through asia is that people are eager to work with america, eager to engage with america. on economic issues, obscurity issues, on a whole range of mutual interests. and that's especially true in asia, where we see such enormous potential. this is the fastest growing part of the world, and we've got to be here. and we've got to work. i'm absolutely confident that my administration over the next two years is going to continue to make progress in ensuring that the united states has a presence here, not just for the next couple of years but decades to come.
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with respect to the bush tax cuts. what i've said is i'm going to meet with the -- both the republican and democratic leaders late next week, and we're going to sit down and discuss how we move forward. my number one priority is making sure that we make the middle class tax cuts permanent, that we give certain aid to the 98% of americans who are affected by those tax breaks. i don't want to see their income taxes spike up, not only because they need relief after having gone through a horrendous recession, but because it would be bad for the economy. i continue to believe that extending permanently the upper income tax cuts would be a mistake. and that we can't afford it. and my hope is that somewhere in
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between there, we can find some sort of solution. but i'm not going to negotiate here in seoul. my job is to negotiate back in washington with republican and democratic leaders. >> you heard the president say he's ready to negotiate with lawmakers of both parties when they return for the lame duck congressional session next week. we'll talk about whether he may make concessions on the tax cut issue. stand by for that. let's get to the president's performance on the world stage right now. he left the g-20 meeting for japan where he's taking part in another economic summit. ed, what, if anything, did the president accomplish at the g-20 summit in south korea? >> well, wolf, senior advisers believe he was able to push a lot of these leaders along who didn't want to have any sort of agreement on some big economic
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imbalances. trade imbalances, debt imbalances, making sure there's not a greek style debt crisis spreading around the world. there were many leaders who didn't want to agree on anything, but when you look at what they ended up agreeing on, what they got on paper, the leaders of the 20 largest economies, it was a lot of talk on debt, trade, as well as economic growth and the big issue, currency manipulation. it was not very tough on china. instead, kicking this issue down the road to 2011. so the president was forced at his news krns on the way out of seoul to say look, you can't hit a home run on the world stage every time. sometimes you have to hit some singles. you'll still score some runs. but obviously there were some higher expectations here. it's difficult to meet sometimes, wolf. >> did you get the sense, ed, you travelled with the president around the world over the past two years, that is his standing now internationally has been
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reduced as a result of the political setbacks he and the democrats suffered on november 2nd during the election? >> it certainly is hard to measure. but i remember the first g-20 summit that president obama attended in london in early 2009. he was greeted almost like a rock star. he was the new big star on the world stage. this time you didn't see that kind of reception. so that was different for sure. i think some of that is natural over the course of two years. it may not be related to the midterm election. i think a bigger measure may be what kind of policy changes can he actually enact and one where he took a blow on the world stage frankly was in seoul on the sidelines of the g-20. he really wanted to get a bilateral trade agreement done. they didn't get it done. he's still hopeful to get it finished, but that's far from a certainly. that was something he wanted to come home with. he said it would bring u.s. jobs home. so far he's come up empty, wolf.
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>> ed, thank you very much. the president is also under attack for his handling of the gulf oil spill by a possible, possible republican rival in 2012. we're talking about the louisiana governor bobby jindal, out with a brand new book fueling fresh speculation about his white house hopes. let's bring in cnn's martin savid savidge. what's going on here? >> this is the book here by the governor of louisiana. from page one, he slams the obama administration for its handling of the gulf oil crisis saying they were more concerned about the political image they were about the environmental damage being done as a result of the gulf spill. he opens the book up, going back to the first visit that president obama gave to louisiana, immediately after the oil began gushing into the oil. cnn was there that day. we decided to take you back to it. sunday may 2nd, 12 days after the deep water horizon oil rig
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blew up, air force one touches down. bobby jindal writes, i was expecting words concern object the oil spill and words of confidence how the government was here to help. no, the president was upset about something else. jindal goes on to describe what he says was a clearly agitated president, dressing down the governor over jindal's request in a letter that food stamps be given to those who lost their jobs due to the spill. in the book, he says of the president, he was concerned about looking bad because of the letter. careful, jindal quotes the president, this is going to get bad for everyone. the governor asserts that this meeting and another like it, gave him the impression that barack obama was disconnected from the gulf oil spill, concerned with political image and not eco logic damage. the president was wondering why
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is everybody criticizing me? jindal writes in his new book. in response today, the administration said the president wasn't angry with the governor's food stamp request, but instead was angry the governor publicly criticized the white house for foot dragging, when the governor had only made the request the day before. the white house went on to say, from day one, president obama has directed his administration to work with state and local governments, to respond to and help gulf communities recover from the bp oil spill. and from my conversations that i had today with the white house, one obama administration insider described governor jindal as ambitious and it was a clear insinuation that by use thing book, the rising republican governor was politically motivated to make himself look very good and of course, the obama administration look very bad. wolf? >> is this book only about the oil spill? >> no, it's not. in fact, there is a lot -- it's an autobiography.
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so he talks about his upbringing, how he get suppose politics. then he diverts to other topics. he is very critical of members of congress, including conservatives and talks about ways he thinks america can be fixed. the name of the book was going to be "real hope, real change." but after the gulf oil crisis, they changed the name. if you're interested, it goes on sale on monday. >> originally his parents from india. he's the first indian-american elected governor in louisiana. nikki haley is the new governor in south carolina, she's also of indian ancestry. thank you very much, marty, for that. the outgoing house speaker nancy pelosi is fighting back against democrats who say she cost cell control of the house of representatives. and joe miller has some new weapons as the vote counting drags on in the alaska senate
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getting involved in the race. our political producer shannon travis is joining us from alaska with all the latest details. update the viewers on what's going on. >> that's right, wolf. let's go through the latest numbers that are coming out right now. they're not much changed on day three. they're still showing that 90% of the ballots being counted here are being sorted for senator murkowski, not added to the official tally but sorted for her. in terms of the lawsuit that you just mentioned, the miller campaign right now is filing this lawsuit in state court here in juneau, basically saying we want voter rolls. we want to look at districts and see if, say, 1,000 voters in that district were registered, that there weren't 2,000 votes. they're concerned about the possibility, they say they've been hearing stories about voter fraud and are concerned about the possibility of that, so they have a lawsuit in court today. >> if those votes go along the lines of these write-in ballots
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for murkowski, is she going to be well ahead of miller assuming they remain on the books? >> it's looking really good for her. if the vote, the write-in ballots continue to break her way, and if -- even if a lot of the challenged ballots aren't counted, she could still win this thing. but the miller campaign says, there's still a lot of absentee ballots that need to be counted and they think those will break their way. >> some heavy hitters are getting involved in this whole ballot battle in alaska. >> that's right. i'll throw out a name you know a lot, his name is floyd brown. he's a veteran conservative activist, probably his biggest claim to fame was authoring that 1988 willie horton ad, that a lot of people think sunk michael dukak
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dukakis. a lot of people think it sank his campaign, floyd brown was also involved in campaigns of the jennifgennifer flowers-bill clinton affair and right now he has a website to impeach president obama. >> thank you very much, shannon, for that. they're getting involved up there in alaska. mean while, lisa murkowski is accusing joe miller of taking desperate measures to prevent her from winning. >> what people have done is they have filled in the oval and written a name and spelled the name right. and miller doesn't know what to do with the fact that people actually did what they were supposed to do. and so what we're seeing now, i believe quite honestly are acts of desperation. lawsuits are being filed. we are seeing ballots that are
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perfectly clear ballots being challenged. >> you can see the murkowski interview with john, on john king usa airing 7:00 p.m. eastern only here on cnn. nancy pelosi is refusing to take blame for the democrat's huge election losses that cost the party control of the house of representatives. she's defending herself as she runs to become the house minority leader despite calls by some to step aside. she said that most members of her party understand what happened, and are on her side. >> we didn't lose the election because of me. in any circumstance, we had 9.5% unemployment. any party that cannot turn that into political gain should hang up the gloves. i said that before the election. the reason they had to try to take me down is because i've been effective in fighting the special interests in washington, d.c.
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i'm also the most significant attracter of support for the democrats, so i'm not looking back on this. they asked me to run. i'm running. and, again, our members understand they made me a target because i'm effective. >> nancy pelosi in that interview with npr. rumors swirling right now that the nobel laureate, the democracy activist aung san suu kyi could be released from house arrest very soon. we'll give you the latest on one of the world's best nonpolitical prisoners. the latest on the investigation into the fire that disabled that cruise ship and left passengers without electricity and hot food for four days. [ rattling ] [ gasps ] [ rattling ] [ laughing ] [ announcer ] close enough just isn't good enough. - if your car is in an accident, - [ laughing continues ]
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the supreme court weighing in on gays serving openly in the united states military. fredricka whitfield is monitoring that. what's going on, fred? >> hello, everyone. don't ask, don't tell isn't going anywhere, at least for now. the supreme court rejected a gay rights' group request to suspend the military's controversial policy. the justices say it should remain in effect temporarily until the full appeals process is done. a lower court found the court unconstitutional but that ruling was appealed. and to san francisco, for the latest in the battle against the happy meal. mayor gavin newsom is set to veto the city's ban on most happy meals with toys. it would require fast food meals with toys to meet certain nutritional standards but the veto doesn't mean much since they have enough votes to
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override him. mcdonald's is extremely disappointed with the ban. and now that the thousands of passengers from that cruise ship are back on land, it's time to find out what caused that fire. panama officials will lead the investigation and the u.s. coast guard will also participate. the national transportation and safety board says panama will take the lead since that's the country where the ship is flagged. even though president obama lifted the moratorium on deep water drilling a month ago, the government still has not issued any new permits for the gulf of mexico and most experts think new permit also be slow to come through 2011. there is some concern that future oil production could fall if new wells will not drilled. the president imposed the ban after april's bp oil spill. >> fred, thank you very much. it's the shocking scam, millions in compensation for holocaust victims allegedly stolen.
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stand by, information coming in. and jobless americans angrily tell members of congress to do their job and extend unemployment insurance benefits. marilyn monroe makes a cameo appearance of sorts at an auction of baseball memorabilia. (announcer) everything you need to stay balanced on long trips. residence inn.
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many of the new recommendations of the president's bipartisan debt commission are being met with skepticism in both ends of the political spectrum. it aims to reduce the debt by $4 trillion over ten years and would cut medicare and social security benefits and eliminate some popular tax breaks. so does it have any chance of being implemented at all? joining us now is the chairman of the senate budget committee, senator kent conrad of north dakota. he is also a member of this bipartisan debt commission. senator, thank you very much for coming in. >> good to be here. >> are you on board with these
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recommendations that the two chairman of the commission put up? >> no, not every detail. but i'm strongly on board with the magnitude of the plan. because that's what it's going to take to get us back on track. >> are you ready to deal with social security the way they're recommending? the democratic congresswoman from illinois, also a member of your panel, she was furious. she says it's not good and nancy pelosi says it's a non-starter. >> they have a right to their views. look, i believe it is, without question, nels to deal with the entitlements, to deal with discretionary spending and defense. we are borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend. we're headed for a debt that will be 400% of the gdp of the country. >> are you ready to increase taxes? >> absolutely. i am ready to cut spending. i am ready to raise revenue. i am ready to deal with every
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part of the federal budget, because there is no option if america is going to remain economically strong. >> so what i hear you saying you're with them basically when it comes to these recommendations. you can tinker on the margins but basically you're with them on that? >> let's talk about social security. they have said we're going to alter somewhat the inflation adjuster, make less of an inflationary adjustment. >> people won't be getting the increases they have been until now. >> a more accurate adjuster according to most economists. given the fact that social security is going to go cash negative in 2015. it's going to go insolvent, broke by 2037. so those who say don't touch it aren't dealing with reality any more than those on the right are dealing with reality who say you can't touch revenue. >> you mean taxes when you say
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revenue? >> exactly. revenue is the lowest it's been in 60 years. spending is the highest it's been in 60 years as a share of national income. so you've got to deal with both sides of this equation. if we're going to get our debt under control. >> you're saying you've got to cut spending and increase taxes? >> undeniable. any person who has looked at it has concluded that's the case. on social security, i don't think many people have mentioned that in the plan they're increasing for the bottom 20%. they will get an increase -- >> for the poorest americans. >> yes. for those who reach the age of 80, they will get a 1% adjustment upward each year for five years in a row. >> you need 14 of the 18 members to approve these recommendations. otherwise, they're just recommendations. if you get 14 on board, then it can go to the congress as legislation.
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do you believe there will be 14 of your colleagues, you and 13 others, who will agree? >> i don't know. i hope so. i hope for the sake of this country that we have the will to do what's necessary. i can tell you the chinese have concluded we have lost the will to deal with our debt. and they have concluded as a result the united states is going to become a second tier economic power. i hope we're able to prove the chinese wrong. i hope we're able to tell all the interest groups in this town to oppose it because their little slice of the pie is getting nicked. it's going to take nicking a lot of the pie to get this job done. >> you're up for re-election in 2012. are you going to run? >> i don't usually make that decision two years in advance but i'm preparing to run. >> north dakota is not necessarily all that receptive, at least in the most recent election, to democrats. >> i can tell you my ratings
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have remained very positive. >> even though you voted for health care reform? >> absolutely. look, as i explained to the people of north dakota, we're on an unsustainable track on health care. 1 in every 6 dollars in this economy is spent on health care. on the trend we're on, lit be 1 in 3. >> so you're not going to break away from that. >> absolutely not. >> and you eastern nknow the re will hammer i have way on that? >> i'm completely prepared to defend on what has been a financial collapse. i was in the room when the secretary of the treasury under the previous administration and the chairman told us if you don't act, we are going to have a financial collapse. >> henry paulson and ben bernanke, they were that blunt? >> absolutely as clear as they could be and told us we would face a collapse within days.
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>> did they say it would be a depression? >> they used the word financial collapse. on the night that we achieved agreement on the t.a.r.p. plan, we were told if we did not reach agreement by 5:00 on sunday evening, the asian markets would collapse, our own markets would open the next morning, and they would collapse. >> looking back, were they exaggerating or do you still believe that? >> i think it is as clear as it can be, that's what it would have been. you saw former president bush say it wasn't a hard choice. it was a choice between depression or no depression. i chose no depression. and former president bush is exactly right. >> sounds like someone may be running again from north dakota in 2012. >> look, i am absolutely going to defend what was done, because it was absolutely essential to avert a financial collapse. >> senator, thank you very much for coming in. >> you bet. a former republican insider
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is pushing the gop leadership to embrace tea party members and their agenda. and a call for unity. that's coming up. a mowmento of marilyn monroe's love life on the auction block right now. ♪ every day you check the weather, check the time ♪ ♪ check the news online ♪heck the wife, eck the kids ♪ ♪ check your email messages ♪ check the money in the bank ♪ check the gas in the tank ♪ check the flava from your shirt ♪ ♪ make sure your pits don't stank ♪ ♪ check the new hairdo, check the mic one two ♪ ♪ 'cause i'm about to drop some knowledge right on top of you ♪ ♪ you check a lot of things already why not add one more ♪ ♪ that can help your situation for sure ♪ ♪ check your credit score ♪ free-credit-score-dot-com ♪ free-credit-score ♪ you won't regret it at all! ♪ check the legal y'all. >>offer applies with enrollment in triple advantage.® another heart attack could be lurking, waiting to strike. a heart attack that's caused by a clot, one that could be fatal. but plavix helps save lives.
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jobless americans on the brink of losing unemployment benefits are turning up the heat on congress. listen to this.
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>> we need a j.o.b. so we can e.a.t. >> a lot of anger at this rally in new york. protestors urging lawmakers to pass an extension of jobless benefits when they return for their lame duck session. those benefits are due to expire at the end of the month. it's a snapshot of difficult times even when some people who managed to find work are struggling. >> reporter: for many people in the middle class who finally found work after being laid off, there's still tremendous uncertainly. we went back to stanford, connecticut and see how people are doing. when we first met these white collar workers nearly two years ago, all were unemployed. it's been a tough time, but here's how some of them are doing now. >> it's the kind of event that your grand parents talked about when the great depression hit 80 years ago. and it's changed our lives. >> reporter: after many long
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months, all but one finally have jobs. but there's a catch. for some, there are no benefits and the work will last for a limited time only. darcy mcdonald was hired as an i.t. specialist on a year-long contract. >> you just have to stay active and engaged and be looking ahead at another contract or extending the one you're on. so it's definitely not a permanent secure feeling. >> reporter: kenneth lee spent two years juggling odd jobs. he's now hoping to extend the year-long contract job he found in information security. >> with all the retrenching that companies have done, they've collapsed a lot of positions into a single position while they're working for it all in one person. >> nicole campbell is still searching for her idea job. he's now teaching french and volunteering at a business association. >> it's very easy to get very depressed and lie in bed and
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stay in your pajamas and watch tv all day. but by working part time, it made me be engaged. >> reporter: adam brill works now as a political communications director. even so, his wife is about to be laid off. her company moving away to cut costs. >> there's so much pain and i think it's going to change how we spend and save money, and where we go from here. >> reporter: working harder and harder they all say to remain in an increasingly shifting middle class. and when i asked these folks whether they feel they're still solidly in the middle class, all of them said no. wolf? >> deborah, thank you. can the different elements of the tea party movement come together to drive the republican agenda in congress? we'll talk about the high stakes efforts to build unity. and if you had a chance to kill one of america's long-time
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let's talk about the tea party and more with our strategy session. joining us, the democratic strategist, hilary rosen, and the cnn political contribute for of the national radio talk show host bill bennett. thank you very much for coming in. you both know dick army. he's saying this, because he's been involved, as you know, raising a lot of money, helping the tea party movement. listen to.
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>> there's no difference of objective point of view. there is a complimentary effort for us all to come together to make this new republican majority the most responsive majority to the will and the needs of the american people than that which we will have seen in our lifetime. i think i dare say speaker john boehner understands this, as well as we do. >> bill, you're well plugged in, in the republican circles, conservative circles. is there a split between the tea party movement and the republican leadership, the republican establishment? >> i don't think anything major. >> earmarks, major differences on earmarks. >> we've had fights about earmarks before. i think we'll get resolution to this. there's a new group of people who have not been in washington. in fact, people who haven't been elected to office at all, many of them, and they have a different point of view than a
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lot of the people who are here. but you will see washington work in a new way, but it will also work with people understanding they have to give in order to get. >> on the issue of free trade, i sense there is a split between the traditional republicans, who support free trade, and the tea party movement that's not necessarily willing to go that far. >> i will have an opportunity to talk to the freshman soon and i will talk about free trade and the importance of free trade. yeah, again, there are differences. i don't think free trade is a big issue in the tea party rallies. but it needs to be an important issue. >> the tea party movement energized republicans this time around. >> and many of -- i would point two things. the first one you mentioned.
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there's going to be a vote likely in the senate that senator demint is going to force to ban all earmarks. which has been a top priority with the tea party. we heard senator mitch mcconnell say no, no, we're not going to vote for that. the second piece is, you had dick army on tv just being "kumbaya," but in the last week we wrote a memo saying unless health care is repealed, these new -- the republican majority are going to pay with their seats, not unless there's an attempt to repeal, but a threat already at his colleagues in the republican party. so the divisions they're making are kind of their own. it's nice to foment them, but they're nicely doing it themselves. >> the president has the veto pen, and they don't have the ability to have 2/3 override. they are not going to be able to repeal the health care law.
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>> republicans control one half of one branch of three branches of power. but look, i expect you will see more cohesiveness in the republican party by the end of the year than in the democratic party. we were unanimous on health care. big splits coming up. i don't deny the differences. my guess is demint may well -- >> how worried are you as a democrat that some of these democrats up for re-election in 2012, whether pennsylvania, ohio, virginia, states that went republican in recent elections, are looking over their shoulders and not necessarily -- >> when it comes to reducing spending, i think republican majority in the house will get a lot of democratic votes. when it comes to thoughtful tweaks that the president supports on health care, they may get a lot of democratic votes. but i think that we will very likely see what we saw in the
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democratic party, which is a protracted process fight over a lot of these issues. and i don't think that's going to serve the republicans well. >> let's talk about the republican party leadership. michael steele is the chairman of the republican party. he's going to make a decision whether he seeks a second term. chairman steele's record speaks for itself. he has his way of doing things, i have mine. i will not strive to be the voice or face of the party. i will be happy to discuss politics but i won't be competing with valuable airtime from the men and women on our ticket. is michael steele going to stay on as chairman of the republican party? >> i think there will be a good debate about this and i think there will be a challenge to all of this. two years is the usual term. i served two weeks, you may remember. that's not a usual term. but if you look at the consequences of michael's being
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chairman, you have to say look what the republicans did. >> win after win after win. >> but also some rocky times. let me just say back to the tea party, whatever the problems, whatever the disagreements, it gave tremendous energy and push to this republican vick terrorism and it's really been a four-barrel carburetor for this engine. >> republicans lost some races but it did help them overall. >> it did, and michael steele may be the beneficiary for that. you look for money, you look for leadership and you look for message. i think there's a pretty good argument to say michael steele hasn't delivered on those three things. >> he has delivered in terms of winning a lot of elections, though. >> that's the bottom line. i like him. >> thank you very much. republicans have virtually no chance of getting a repeal of health care reform through the senate, certainly not signed by the president. but they're still pursuing another strategy to block what they call obama care.
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we'll tell you what's going on. and what to do with nuclear waste that can remain toxic for 100,000 years. finland says it has the answer. stand by, you'll learn what it is. (announcer) everything you need to stretch out on long trips. residence inn. fifteen percent or more on car insurance? does a former drill sergeant make a terrible therapist? patient: and that's why yellow makes me sad. i tnk. sarge: that's interesting. you know what makes me sad? you do! maybe we should chug on over to mambie pambie land
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rumors swirled all day in
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m miramar that suu kyi would be released, and she is a nobel peace prize winner, and she has been under house arrest. they have plans to release her, but no time has been set when. there are calls around the world for her release. and there are urgent pleas for the iraq sharing deal which was announced hours after it was announced. one kurdish leader said if the sunni leaders don't come back, the deal may fall through, this is coming after an eight-month stalemate between the sunnis and the shiites and the kurds and there is worries that sectarian violence will spike if it collapses. the first u.s. army will become the first american soldier to receive the medal of honor, and how he won the distinction begins almost a year to the day. our pentagon correspondent barbara starr brings us the
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story. >> the whole time frame was two minutes or three minutes and five or six lifetimes, i don't know. >> reporter: but in the two three-minutes, army staff sergeant sal giunta went from a self-described mediocre soldier to hero. that october night, he was walking along a ridgeline with other members of the unit, assigned to protect other soldiers while they were walking back to their base. >> and single shot rang out. and everybody started to get down behind cover. >> there is not one of them or two of them or ten of them, but more than ten and they are not that far away. >> you could watch the guy pull the trigger that was aiming at you. >> it seems like the world is exploding in bullets and rpgs and everything. we looked and it was along the whole side, and along, you know the flank. >> reporter: hit eight times was the man in front, walking point as the military says, sergeant josh brennan of mcfarland,
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wisconsin. he talked to his dad, mike, only a few days before. >> actually he had volunteered for that mission that day. >> reporter: on that ridgeline josh brennan was downed severely wounded. sal giunta raced ahead into the face of taliban fire. >> he got to the front, and he killed one of the guys that was dragging my team leader away, sergeant brennan. and wounded another one, recovered sergeant brennan and brought him back to an area where we could secure him and continue the fight, and started the aid on him. for all intents and purposes the amount of fire that was still going on in the conflict at the time, he should not be alive right now. >> reporter: sal giunta says he does not deserve the nation's highest award for military heroism. >> when i first heard that they were putting me in for the medal of honor, i felt lost. i felt kind of angry, because it came at such a price. it is very bittersweet. it is such a huge honor.
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it is a great thing, but it is a great thing that has come at a personal loss to myself and other families. >> reporter: that is what you want people to know? >> absolutely. >> reporter: barbara starr, cnn, afghanistan. there is a new video game virtual reality and has it simply gone too far? players take aim at cuba's fidel castro. that is coming up. [ woman ] you know, as a mom,
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a new phone with dolby surround sound speakers. only from at&t. rethink possible. we are going to havana, cuba, right now where the cuban ooh fishl officials are claiming that there are hundreds of plots to kill fidel castro, but what if a video game succeeds where others have not. there is controversy in the process. we have a report from havana. >> reporter: a new american video game literally takes aim at cuba's fidel castro. one of the first mission in "call of duty black ops" is to rub out the leader of the cuban
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revolution. unlike in real life the players appear to do just that in disturbing gory detail. no official reaction from government here in havana, but this state-run website denounced the game for glorifying assassination and inciting the american youth to behave like sociopaths. the site also ridicules the cia. what the united states could not accomplish in more than 50 years thashg i a , they are trying to do virtually. he has outlasted ten u.s. administrations. illness forced him to step down in 2006, but after four years of seclusion, fidel castro is back in action. he is not in power, but he as the trademark fatigues on and tours havana with speechings about the risk of the nuclear
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war. cuba has taken a different path of keeping the cold war alive. the attempts on castro have been put on a big-budget tv series, in one, the cia is developing a poisonous cigar for castro's visit to the u.n. in new york. the plot is foiled when the new york police chief refuses to deliver them. >> you are dead. you kill the devil. >> reporter: even "call of duty" castro proves immortal at the end. >> it is my gift to you in honor of the relationship. >> shasta darlington, cnn, havana. here in "the situation room," happening now, president obama with little to show for the high-profile meeting with the leaders in the g-20 summit. and is the international star losing his luster? and reality and politics
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collide in the new sarah palin tv show debuting this weekend, and what impact if any will it have if she decides to run for president in 2012. and my friend and colleague soledad o'brien talking candidly about fear, and growing up biracial, and being dissed by the reverend jesse jackson as a black woman, it is all new and she opens up about her book this hour. we want to welcome you in the united states and around the world to "the situation room." world to "the situation room." i'm wolf blitzer. -- captions by vitac -- president obama is about to embark in a new round of meetings with world leaders a and this time it is the asia economic summit. but the economic issues at home are trailing the president in asia and specifically the bush tax cuts set to expire in seven weeks. our senior correspondent ed henry is traveling with the president in japan right now. we go the japan.
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ed, what is happening right now on this new day? >> well, wolf, the president had a news conference earlier in seoul, and my colleague dan lothian pressed him on whether or not he's basically back pedaling, and caving into the republicans and who want to push extension of those bush tax cuts for the rich. there was a report in huffington post that david axelrod said that they are ready to give in here, because that is the only way to get through an extension of middle-class tax cuts as well. the president answering dan's question really pushed back hard and said that he is not giving in, but if you listen up closely to what he is saying, the key is that he is saying that he does not want permanent extension of the tax cuts for the rich which leaves a lot of room in the negotiations for a short-term extension for the tax cuts for the rich. take a listen. >> i haven't had a conversation with republican and democratic leaders. here is the right
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interpretation. i want to make sure that taxes don't go up for middle-class families starting on january 1st. that is my number one priority for those families and for our economy. i also believe that it would be fiscally irresponsible for us to permanently extend the high-income tax cuts. i think that would be a mistake particularly when we've got our republican friends says that their number one priority is making sure that we deal with our debt and our deficit. so, there may be a whole host of ways to compromise around those issues. i'm not going to negotiate here in seoul on those issues. >> so, it really looks like the president is trying to stake out negotiating ground and not give up everything up front, but he is opening the door to a compromise here by basically saying, look, don't permanently extend those tax cuts for the rich, but there is a lot of room
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here for a deal that would extend the tax cuts for the rich as well as the middle-class on some sort of short basis, a year or two, wolf. >> he also expressed the support for the outgoing speaker nancy pelosi. what did he say? >> very interest, because just a few days ago the white house said we will not get involved in the leadership race, and nancy pelosi running for democratic minority leader in the house, and the president got a question from a report erreporter, askin do you think that there should be new leadership up on the hill, and the president said, look, nancy pelosi has been an outstanding partner in passing my agenda, but it is a tacit endorsement of nancy pelosi. >> news from the president halfway around the world. thank you, ed henry. the financial times says that little agreement was expect and none was achieved. president obama in particular
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will return home on sunday with little to show for the two days in seoul. joining nous from abu dhabi, our correspondent richard quest. richard, it seems that the president of the united states didn't get a lot of love at the g-20 summit, not only from south korea, but from some of the other countries as well, especially coming to china. what is going on? >> well, what is going on is that the nations of the g-20 are at very different points now in the economic cycle. some are barely growing like the united states, and some countries in europe, and other members particularly the southeast asian members of the g-20, brazil, india, china, they are all growing very fast indeed. what they are seeing is that the laggards, the countries like the u.s. are now trying to export their problems. for instance the united states with the quantitative easing of
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the qe 2 policy of last week which is causing great currency issues for other nations. and the question of whether the united states is actually doing a de facto devaluation of the dollar which, again, would cause problems. the u.s.'s answer to all of this, the president's answer remains the same, it is in everybody's interests for the u.s. to grow and grow quickly and that's why we are doing what we are doing. >> because the accusations are being hurled against the u.s. that the u.s. is doing what they blamed the chinese for doing artificially trying to devalue their own currency to decrease experts? >> yes, a little bit of a knew wanlsed d wans -- nuanced difference there, because the u.s. denies and came out full tlhrottle tha there is no policy of devaluation that is in the u.s. interest, and we ecan tell by
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the time of that particular statement. and the chinese are reluctant the talk about what they are doing with the chinese one. ultimately, the two sides are diametrically opposed differences of opinions on how this should be resolved and it is that which caused the g-20 to almost fall apart. this is the communique and it is three pages long and extremely wooly in the termmology. i have plowed through a few of these in my time and i have to say that i have seen one that has said so little in so much space. >> richard quest, thank you. let's get some more with our senior political analyst david gergen who is joining us. david, when you saw the headlines coming out of the g-20 summit, what immediately went through your mind? >> oh. oh, wolf. after the president had a really fine trip to india, and did a lot of good things there and had a good trip to indonesia, he had a diplomatic train wreck in
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south korea, and seeing that headline, and you have seen it, wolf, the president and their teams plan for weeks and months to make sure when the president of the united states goes overseas to get an agreement, he gets a triumph and big headlines that the united states pulls off another deal on this or that, and yet in south korea, he got rebuffed on several fronts. he asked the south koreans to back down on some so he could get a trade agreement out of there, and he had announced to the world to have a trade agreement, a they nd they refus. he asked the chinese to raise the plans for their currency, and they refused. he asked to set firm numerical goals for the future, and instead he got lectures from china, and germany and brazil and even britain that we are manipulating our currency as
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richard quest just said in his conversation with you. so, it was a train wreck. and the president is recovering and trying the go on, but it did not help him, and in facts it hurt him on the world stage. >> did the democrats' losses and his losses in the recent u.s. elections weaken his hand globally? >> that is interesting question, wolf. probably not in one sense in that people understand those things happen, and they all have paid their prices, but i do think that from the journalistic standpoint the two stories got woven together. president wounded at home goes overseas and is rebuffed, and that adds up and the way that the journalistic community is presenting it as a weakened president both at home and abroad. so i think that he has paid a price for it. i think that the real reason he is running into problems though, wolf, is that america is seen as a country unable to get the economic house in order while
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other countries particularly china and india and germany are moving ahead. they have high growth rates, and there is a tendency now to be more dismissive of the united states, and for the united states to lose some of the influence. that is the real danger e. we are serious danger unless we get the economic house in order e, and th eand that includes around the world. >> if the president thinks he had trouble with the g-20 leaders in north korea, wait until he has to come back to the united states and deal with the leadership. and now there is an effort of reform in the courts. and john mccain and his wife cindy are in odds at gays serving openly in the military. we will show you what shesay
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sayi saying. she is speaking out dramatically. and my friend and colleague soledad o'brien is saying how she was dismissed once by jesse jackson. it is in her new book, and soledad o'brien is here in "the situation room." [ male announcer ] sitting, waiting, hoping. that's not how successful investing is done. at e-trade it's harnessing some of the most powerful
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it's true. you never forget your first subaru.
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it is sweeping and controversial and lot of the critics say it is unconstitutional and we are talking about the new health care reform law and it is in the republican cross hairs right now and in court as well. cnn's brian todd has been looking into the story. they are trying to kill the law, the new law in court. what's the latest? >> the latest, wolf, is prominent republican politicians are hopping on to the biggest legal challenge to health care because they know they won't be able to kill it in congress. >> reporter: it was the republicans' favorite campaign weapon, attacking president obama's health care plan. >> repeal and replace obamacare. >> we will not rest until we repeal obamacare. >> reporter: fresh off of the midterm victory though comes the hard reality of the gop. they likely won't have the votes at least in the senate to completely repeal the health care law. so, they are attacking it in the courts. senate minority leader mitch mcconnell is leading the charge. >> we cannot compel the
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administration officials to defend the indefensible spending bill. >> reporter: mcconnell is filing a legal brief eto support a multistate lawsuit against the attorney general. other big name republicans are minnesota governor tim pawlenty, a possible presidential candidate support the suit. it is the biggest challenge to the president's health care plan and saying it is overreaching and unconstitutional, because it forces people to buy health care and taxes them if they don't. an aide to senator mcconnell says that the briefing does carry significant weight, because the bill had to go through the senate to become law, but there are serious questions as to whether a legal challenge to health care can stand up in the courts. a federal judge in florida recently ruled that parts of the lawsuit can go forward. i asked steven valadic, a law professor at american university about the challenges of the health care? >> well, it is a long shot.
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there are two legal issues here. one is, does the federal government have the power under the commerce clause to require individuals to have health inshushls, and secondly, can they tax people who do not purchase insurance. the federal government has to win on one of the two arguments whereas the states, the challengers have to convince the courts it is unenconstitutional on both sides and it is a difficult sell. >> reporter: the president's team agrees it is a difficult sell, and the white house official pointing out that other scholars including three nobel prize winners said that the health care market in the united states is unlike any other market, and nobody can realistically opt out, nobody is going to be sick. expert ss say that some of it wl reach the courts, but not for year or two. >> what are the options if it reaches the supreme court? >> well, analysts say it is unlikely they will toss out the
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whole thing. the supreme kourpt docourt does to toss out complete laws, and that one aspect of making people buy health insurance is going to be interesting in court. >> we will watch it every step of the way with you. he says, she says, the wife of senator and former presidential candidate john mccain, has his wife cindy mccain taking sides. and soledad o'brien takes us inside of the pages of her new book, why jesse jackson told her, you don't count. i am quoting. stay with us, here in "the situation room."
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fredricka whitfield is monitoring other stories in "the situation room." what is going on? >> well, rumors swirling that activist suu kyi would be released from the house arrest. well, a peace laureate has spent 21 years under house arrest.
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in myanmar also known as burma plans to release her, but not saying when. there are calls around the world for her release. cindy mccain once again is public at odds with her husband, arizona senator john mccain and this time it is about "don't ask, don't tell." cindy mccain is appearing in a web video with other celebrities advocating the repeal of the controversial military policy. >> our political and religious leaders tell lgbt youth they have no future and they can't serve our country openly. our country treats lgbt youth like second-class citizens. >> senator mccain's office hatz not commented on the video. and zha zha gabor has been hospitalized again. after complaining of swelling and pain in the leg, she was
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rushed to the hospital. the husband said that a doctor who came to the home diagnosed a massive blood chot thlot that c move to her heart. the hungarian-born star is known for her numerous marriages and she has been in frail health since a 2002 car accident. wolf? >> nancy pelosi on the defensive. the house speaker says she is not the reason that the democrats lost so badly, and she reveals her theory of what happens. and a preview of sarah palin's reality show. what it will mean for her? and soledad o'brien is sharing candid and emotional stories of her career, and family, and she is here to talk about her new book was. [ j. weissman ] it was 1975.
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my professor at berkeley asked me if i wanted to change the world. i said "sure." "well, let's grow some algae." and that's what started it. exxonmobil and synthetic genomics have built a new facility to identify the most productive strains of algae. algae are amazing little critters. they secrete oil, which we could turn into biofuels. they also absorb co2. we're hoping to supplement the fuels that we use in our vehicles, and to do this at a large enough scale to someday help meet the world's energy demands. (voice 2) how bad is it? (voice 1) traffic's off the chart... (voice 2) they're pinging more targets... (voice 3) isolate... prevent damage... (voice 2) got 'em. (voice 3) great exercise guys. let's run it again.
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old legs. p.a.d., the doctor said. p-a-d... p.a.d. isn't just poor circulation in your legs causing you pain. it more than doubles your risk of a heart attack or stroke. i was going to tell you. if you have p.a.d., plavix can help protect you from a heart attack or stroke. plavix helps keep blood platelets from sticking together and forming clots, the cause of most heart attacks and strokes. call the doctor about plavix -- please? i will. [ male announcer ] certain genetic factors and some medicines such as prilosec reduce the effect of plavix leaving you at greater risk for heart attack and stroke. your doctor may use genetic tests to determine treatment. don't stop taking plavix without talking to your doctor as your risk of heart attack or stroke may increase. people with stomach ulcers or conditions that cause bleeding should not use plavix. taking plavix alone or with some other medicines including aspirin may increase bleeding risk, so tell your doctor when planning surgery. tell your doctor all medicines you take including aspirin especially if you've had a stroke. if fever, unexplained weakness or confusion develops,
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tell your doctor promptly. these may be signs of ttp, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition, reported sometimes less than two weeks after starting plavix. other rare but serious side effects may occur. [ female announcer ] talk to your doctor about plavix. the u.s. supreme court is weighing in on the ban on gays serving openly in the u.s. military and the justices have ordered that the "don't ask, don't tell" policy will remain in effect at least for now. our pentagon correspondent barbara starr is following the latest developments for us. so what happens now? >> reporter: today, they turned aside a homosexual rights group to request to u temporarily suspend that controversial
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"don't ask, don't tell" policy in the military. now it is all intact in the foreseeable future and likely to wind through the courts for some months to come, but there is also a political football in play now. here's the question, we reapproaching a lame duck congress, and will defense secretary robert gates still aggressively push for repeal in the remaining weeks of the democratic majority on capitol hill, and the survey of the troops and the feelings about this is going to be sent to gates around december 1st, so time is tight. another wrinkle that has just emerged is the commandant of the marine corps is expressing reservations, and the general james amos wanting to know more about the potential risks. here is a statement from general amos who says, quote, there nothing more intimate than young men and women and when you are talking about infantry, we are talking about our young men laying out, sleeping alongside one another, and sharing death and fear and the loss of their
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brothers. so i don't know what the effect of that would be on unit cohesion. i mean, that's what we are looking at unit cohesion and the combat effectiveness, so here is a major figure in the u.s. military still saying, he has questions, and democratic lame duck just a few weeks to act on it if they want to repeal it. >> there is word, barbara, and you know that the secretary of defense is furious about a leak on this issue as well. >> livid beyond belief is our understanding. this survey that is going to him december 1st, they surveyed tens of thousands of u.s. troops about what they thought, and it was all supposed to be very confidential and no results leaked just yet and all came out in the newspapers and gates has ordered an investigation as to who leaked it, wolf. >> we will find out about that. and you know all about the leak investigations, and we will see if it is an issue in the lame duck because they have a lot of new things to do in the next few
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week before the new group comes in with a lot more independents and republicans. it will be more difficult with the democrats have a lopsided majority. and i was told by a leading civil rights activist, you don't count -- this is one of many episodes in a captivating new book by a cnn journalist and colleague who has the right stuff. joining us is our own soledad o'brien who is the author of a new book titled "the next big story, my journey through the land of possibilities." soledad, it is moving and personal story about yourself and your career and your life. i was touched, and let's start off right at the beginning, growing up in long island and you have a white irish dad, and a black cuban mom and growing up and it is a first encounter really that you had with a photographer, and i want you to share that story with the
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viewers. >> yes, with that makeup we did not blend in our family with 99% of the community of long island. i was 11 and going to get a picture with my older sister stella for my parents' anniversary. and the photographer said to me as we came n and he said, excuse me if i'm of fending you, but are you black, and i remember as an 11-year-old thinking, what does that mean, and my older sister chewed the guy out and she eventually grabbed my hand and we walked out. so that is the first time that i thought that there are people who just won't like you for who you are, because at this time, we were probably among two black families in the part of smithtown where i lived. it was the first time i felt like we clearly don't belong here, and there are people who feel like there is something offensive about being black. i remember that clearly. >> and you also opened up about not really dating in high school. tell us what that was all about. >> well, i would have if anybody
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had asked me. i mean, it was clear and for my older and brothers and sisters, too for a community where most of the people were white, you were not going to date kids in the black family. i was a good student, too, and i felt like i am smarter than sta boys and i have homework and my mom would not let me date anyway and those were side reason, but my parents made it clear, it is not going to happen to you and when you go off to college, you will meet other kinds of people and you won't have to worry about that, but nobody really asked me, so i didn't. >> well, you did all right for yourself. >> it worked out fine. >> you went on the harvard and all of the siblings went to harvard so obviously all of you are smart. but do you really also opened up about the whole issue of affirmative ak shu action and y benefits because of your background. >> yes, one of my first jobs in television news was to be the affirmative minority news writer and that is because i got it
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because i was black. and tv news in boston at that time and toechb this day is not diverse. they had virtually no people of color in the newsroom in a community that was quite diverse. boston is a diverse community even in the '80s when i worked there, so yeah, no question i got opportunities that affirmative action provided and i am sure at harvard as well, because that is something that was going on at this time in the '80she '70s when my sister went off to school. my parents always said to get the most out of every experience you have, and that you will ultimately be accomplished on the work that you did and the good you did and the qualify of the work that you turned out and not how you got there. >> i have had the pleasure to meet your mom and the apple does not fall far from the tree as we say. tell me about the story, because you write openly about it, and the exchange you had with reverend jesse jackson one day when he was complaining about cnn. >> yes, he was annoyed that cnn
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did not have enough black anchors and the elections were coming up a he sa coming up, and he said, cnn has no black anchors and i said, what are you talking about it? and he leaned over, and was very angry about it, and he said, you don't count. what was angry about it was not what he said, but my response because when i deal with race and ethnicity issues i push back hard and ask those uncomfortable questions, but at that time i was stunned, you don't count and you are not one of us and you don't fit back. and we have talked about it since, and i called him and talked about it and i was embarrassed, because i never called him on that, and i said, what did you mean by that? and i said, what did you mean? and he said, oh, i thought you were latina.
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and is it about skin color or identi identity? those are the kind of questions that i tackle in the work that i do in the documentary work in "black in america" and "latina in america." >> yes, but sometimes you are on the road, and people don't know that you are balancing that with raising four kids. >> i am not sure that balance is the right word. >> but little kids and not big kids, but growing up, and they are growing up including your twins, and how do you do it? >> the twins are 6 and my other daughters are 8 and 10. some days you don't do too well. but certainly, if you cover katrina or haiti or a tsunami, you are gone for weeks at a time, but as the kids are older they find value in what i do. and for example when we were trying to get in haiti, i was calling everybody i knew to get into haiti and my daughter said,
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well, somebody better send somebody to haiti, and because mommy is going to lose her mind if she does not go to haiti. and they understand that my work is important, as they are, too, and when a story works, i want to be, there and they can follow the reports, and i come back. mom comes back and we talk about it, and it is an experience that we can talk ant. i try not no travel, but as you know the work necessitates it. >> and sometimes you don't want to be on the front lines of a dangerous story, i guess because you have four kids. >> yeah, i'm not a danger girl at all. i don't go to iraq or afghanistan. i think that cnn has a number of correspondents who are incredibly brave and talented and willing to go and i don't have to be one of them. i like to go to stories in aftermath when cow can cover the story and the impact on the people, and really bring that story to an american public that may not know what is going on, especially international, but even in stories like hurricane katrina and do long-form pieces. so, yeah, no danger girl, and
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even before i had kids and have no intention to start now. sometimes there is a aftershock or a scary moment and something happens and that is the nature of the gig frankly. >> we worked tot on the election night, and you were hobbling on crutches. how are you feeling first of all right now and tell our viewers what happened. >> i am feeling fine. i fell off of my horse and tore any acl and the mcl and the meniscus, and i had surgery a week ago and my doctor says i'm on track for doing perfectly 100% recovery, so i have a week and a half on crutches which is raging pain because i am so slow, but after that, ki walk wi -- i can walk with a brace and then back walking. knock on wood. >> if i were you, i would not be riding that much anymore, but that is me. i would be worried about it. let me plug the book, because it is an excellent read and all of the viewers who love you will want to read the book, soledad, because they will learn more about you than they learned in
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the past two minutes. it is entitled "the next big story, my journey through the land of possibilities." soled soledad, thank you much. >> my pleasure, wolf. the house speaker nancy pelosi defends her run for the minority, and does not claim to be the reason for the loss. she says it is not her fault. and politics hit headon with reality tv. sarah palin's "alaska" debuts this weekend. stay with us right here in "the situation room."
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the outgoing speaker nancy pelosi is standing by the decision to run for the soon to be house minority which is the democrats. while some blame her for the party's crushing losses on election day, pelosi says that is simply not true. listen to what she told national public radio. >> we didn't lose the election because of me. and in any circumstance when you have 9.5 unemployment and any party that cannot turn that into a political gain should hang up the gloves. >> let's discuss with this gloria borger and john king host of "john king usa" which starts at the top of the hour. she is blaming the economy, but it is a subtle dig at the obama administration. >> yes, she was using that same line before the election that she is using after the election. if you talk to democrats, it is
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no secret that they believe that the obama administration was not out there forcefully enough selling the agenda that they took the hard votes on, particularly in the house. she pushed a tough agenda, and she got folks in line to vote for it, and there are a lot of democrats felt that they were left out there hanging on a limb. so, yes, this is a i believe not so subtle dig, but she has been a good trooper for barack obama, and that is why she is running again, because she wants to protect what she has done. >> well, a lot of the democrats in the house who have gotten re-elected or coming to washington are not happy with her, but they are afraid to say, that because she is a strong and powerful leader. >> and great fund raiser for the party, and a disciplined and compassionate leader if you will. she knows everybody's family concerns. most of the liberals are saying that of all of the choices, we will stick with nancy pelosi, because as the minority leader, much lower profile than the speaker, and the president will
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be te d fi be the defining figure. the people who are most concerned are the blue dogged centrist democrats who are in their districts if she were still the speaker next year would have trouble going home to explain the votes for democratic agenda, but wolf, one thing is that when the republicans won 60 seats, a lot of them who were lost are the moderate blue dogs and they will come blaine abopl next week, but there are not enough of them. >> and sarah palin, her reality show on alaska is debuting this weekend and we will play a little clip, because we have a trailer. >> that whole misperception about being a diva cracks me up. that is stuck to my lip. i would describe myself and my family as normal average-everyday americans. if you plan on visiting her, she can visit you for like 20 minutes. willow, come here. no boys. go upstairs.
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willow. willow. i think that my kids will always call alaska home. the opportunities that we have, the epic landscape. oh, my gosh. look at this. i would rather be out here being free. this is what life is all about. and on a really clear day, you can see russia from here. >> is this a smart vehicle for someone who is thinking about becoming a president of the snudz. >> you know, you watch that trailer, wolf, and you say, if alaska is so great, why would you run for office to come to washington, d.c. and that is question one, but of course, this is good for her. it is not really a reality show, but more like a travel log with sarah palin as the host. and it is going to show her in a very good light. it is going to show her at home with her family, and in alaska and in the outdoors, so, you know, fine, knotting the lose the -- nothing to lose. >> she was introduced to the country in a huge hurry, and she
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has problems. she has a huge conservative support base, and we saw nit this campaign and she has problems with moderate suburban women and independent voters, so one of the problems, number one, she has substance challenge, and republicans say this is not a great idea, because they want to see her talking about the world affairs bshg s affairs, but she can do it separately. you see her as a mother, and rugged outdoors and remember her saying i am not spending money to go on a high-priced shopping spree. it is reintroduction to imagine to american politics. this is a very, very high profile way of doing it. >> we are seeing the flipside as you alluded to, she is giving policy speeches and team around her and talking about ben bernanke and the fed, and the fed policy, so she's trying to kind of round out the image, and take away some of to rough edges
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that we saw. >> and a huge audience when the show debuts. we will watch. >> alaska is beautiful and a lot of people will watch just for that. >> well, it is beautiful and we were there not long ago. agents on a kickback scheme and quick flush and why the fbi called a plumber to help catch some suspects. it was a $42 million scam that went undetected for 16 years, allegedly, just ahead. an update on the alleged holocaust scam that one of the victims is calling unconscionable. stay with us here in "the situation room." [ wind howling ]
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a plumber's curious role in a new investigation. we go back to fredricka whitfield who is monitoring that and other top stories in "the situation room" right now. what is going on, fred? >> well, hello, wolf, and everyone. it sounds like a hollywood script as the fbi closed in on prince georges county executive and his wife, they panicked. the affidavit says that the johnsons raced to find an $100,000 check or alleged kickback and tried to flush it down the toilet which is why they called a plummer to the johnson's house who was quote checking the toilets to make sure there is nothing in them. according to the affidavit, mrs. johnson stuffed $60,000 cash into her bra. the couple was taken into federal custody today and charged with witness tampering. finland has built the
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world's first permanent nuclear waste bunker. it is made up of a huge system of underground tunnels that will last 100,000 years. the radioactive toxic waste will be secured with multiple barriers, and the $4 billion site will require no surveillance or management by future generations. it is located 200 miles northwest of helsinki. and losses for the united states postal services which says it lost $4.8 billion in fiscal year 2010 which is more than double of the previous year's losses and despite the fact that the service made huge cuts, including layoffs. they lay the recession, and the increasing use of e-mail. it has asked congress to let it cut back delivery to now five days a week. and more than 700 pieces of baseball history will be on the auction block at the louisville
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slugger museum in kentucky. they include babe ruth's autographed 702nd home run baseball and a 1903 cy young autograph. it is believed that the bat was used in the first-ever world c used in the first-everybody world series and a marilyn monroe autographed photo to joe dimaggio. >> all people stuff for those who love that. >> and who have deep pockets. >> rich ones. an alleged scheme scamming millions away from holocaust survivors, act based on pure greed. wrong move! you. you can save up to half off that sale when you name your own price on priceline. but this one's a me. it's only pretending to be a deal. here, bid $79. got it. wow!
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the u.s. attorney's office in new york has charged 17 people with stealing millions of dollars from world war ii holocaust survivors.
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susan candiotti is joining us from new york with more on this. what are you learning about this alleged fraud? >> you can sum it up like this, disgusting, perverse and pervasive. that's what fbi investigators are calling a fined tune scam, ripping off holocaust survivors, many poor who depend on it for food and health care. the fraud was allegedly run in new york's brighton beach. >> more than $42 million that was intended for holocaust survivors instead found its way into the pockets of corrupt employees of the claims conference and an elaborate network of fraudsters as the charging documents described. >> almost 60 years ago, the german government set aside 415 million deutschemarks for those who were forced to live in concentration camps. the $42 million alleged ripoff
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went undetected for about ten years because it was so well organized. >> the reason they were able to pull it off for so long is that it was such a sophisticated group of people, it was many of them and they were organized. so each group within this -- within this gang had specific assignments, some people recruited people to pretend to be survivors, some people created false documents, some people were on the inside approving applications with the false documents. when you put it all together, it was this whole gang who were able to perpetrate the crime. he's received legitimate compensation from the german government and calls the scam infuriating and based on pure greed. >> it's unconscionable what they did. but to the holocaust survivors,
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it is very uncomfortable to live with the stigma of what these people created. >> investigators say the alleged ringleader oversaw the two affected funds and recruited others. the 17 people charged so far, each face up to 20 years in jail and fines of up to a quarter million dollars if convicted. wolf, it's hard to understand how something like this could happen for so long. >> thank you very much susan for that, we'll take a quick break, more news right after this. out of the very best america had to offer. ingenuity. integrity. optimism. and a belief that the finest things are the most thoughtfully made -- not the most expensive. today, the american character is no less strong. and chevrolet continues as an expression of the best of it. bringing more technology to more people than ever in our history. inventing new ways to get around our planet while preserving it at the same time.
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here are some of the week's best late-night jokes. >> carnival cruise ship finally docked after losing power for three days which resulted in small portions of bad food and smelly toilets. yeah, the ship's being repaired and turned into a taco bell. they hooked it up and they're towing it now into san diego and it's going to be a couple of days before they get to san diego, but when they get there, all of the passengers will be greeted by the president of chile. president bush is everywhere, he's been on the larry king show, he's been on the "today" show with matt lauer, he's be on all of the programs, he was on rachel ray this morning, waterboarding a veal cutlet. >> last night's soul train awards, true story, wolf blitzer